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BELGRADE, Serbia – An abandoned customs warehouse in central Belgrade has become a temporary home for hundreds of migrants trying to reach the European Union from Serbia.
More than 200 men have occupied the run-down concrete hall near the bus and train stations in the capital city, seeking shelter from autumn cold and rain.
They are among thousands stranded in Serbia looking for ways to cross into neighboring EU member states Hungary or Croatia.
Young migrant men from countries such as Pakistan or Afghanistan stand little chance of asylum anywhere in the EU, but still want to go illegally.
Dozens are loitering Thursday in the Belgrade warehouse as rays of morning light illuminate the compound through the windows.
Migrants have used old furniture to divide the space into small zones. Trousers, shirts and other washed clothes hang on ropes to dry.
Some migrants are sleeping wrapped in blankets on pieces of cardboard spread on the floor. A man reads a book in an old armchair thrown out of somebody's home, while others sit around small fires for warmth on a sunny but chilly day.
Migrants' personal belongings sit neatly on old, dusty wooden shelves once packed with customs documents.
Many of the migrants are teenage boys, who hope to start a new life somewhere in Europe or earn some money to bring back home.